Product Name: E8 OLED
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In 2018 LG once again worked hard on their TV lineup and offered us some really amazing sets in both their OLED and SUHD series. And even if 2017 was a great year for LG’s OLED TVs it’s engineers didn’t rest on this success trying to push the technology even further. And although the improvements over last year were not breathtaking looking closer we see some very important improvements made in some key areas. Having already reviewed the more budget friendly C8 OLED model we knew more or less the kind of performance we would get so we were prepared to be floored once again.
The E8 model sports almost the same specifications as the C8 but it has some small differences mostly in how it looks featuring a more glamorous design in order to justify it’s higher price. As for the rest we also find the new a9 processor that powers all the top tier OLED TVs for 2018 except the entry-level B8 and offers amazing image performance, support for almost all HDR protocols, a wealth of smart TV functions and features and a webOS smart TV platform that is better than ever. But does the higher price justify what you get with the E8? Continue reading to find out in our LG E8 review.
The LG E8 has a very characteristic design as it uses what LG refers to as “picture on glass” with the panel being mounted on a thin sheet of glass in order to give the model a unique effect. And even if last year’s “picture on glass” had the glass extend out of the panel from all sides this year and the E8 specifically extends only to the bottom. If you plan to wall mount the TV you will probably never pay attention to it, on the other hand if you are planning to place it on a furniture then the glass creates an illusion that the TV floats on the air as it’s purpose is to connect the main body with the stand that comes with it.
Under the TV panel there is a thin line that runs across from one side to the other and is where the speaker system is located. Compared to some previous OLED models this one is very subtle and we liked it very much as it doesn’t distract from the rest of the design. The metallic stand has a rectangle shape and as said above attaches itself to the bottom of the glass. It feels sturdy enough while it’s footprint is small enough considering the size of the panel also.
The E8 is an amazingly thin TV set. The middle top is so thin that has to be seen to be believed. The middle bottom is more thick as there is located the compartment where all the electronics are placed. But even there we are talking about 2.16″ (5.5cm) of thickness which isn’t too much and makes wall mounting rather easy.
The back of the TV has a very tidy and clean look with no unnecessary extensions or designs. In one side we find the 2 characteristic groups of connections with one looking sideways while the other looking outwards and a power button near them. Since Samsung designed the One Connect Box taking all connections away from the main body we were always supportive of this system and would like the rest of the manufacturers to follow the same design.
Unfortunately so far this is not the case and we will have to use the onboard connections that can be a real pain if the TV is wall mounted as the outward ports are uncomfortable to use. Thankfully the sideways looking ports help a little in this situation in order to at least make the most necessary connections. Also we find it a bit illogical to have created such an amazing design with all this glass and metal and have wires running on the back show their ugly face. LG should really think about cable management for their future OLED models.
The E8 OLED uses the same panel and same video features as the C8 OLED that we reviewed earlier. As such the results we got were almost identical given a few minor differences as no panel is exactly the same. This means that the image quality is some of the best we have ever seen in a TV of any given technology.
For 2018 LG has equipped all their OLED TVs with the new a9 processor except from the entry level B8 which uses the less powerful a7 processor. According to LG the new Alpha 9 processor is particularly good at reducing noise and improves sharpness as well as colors handling. Panel tech hasn’t changed much from last year so most of the improvements are made in the electronics and mainly the image processor in order to improve the performance of the E8.
Let’s talk first about brightness. The E8 may offers small improvements in this area compared to last year but even like this there are some. Measured peak brightness hits around 800 nits which may not be a big improvement but it is evident that even though OLED technology is limited by overall peak brightness, LG is working upon this every year making it better and better. It may not reach the 2,000 nits brightness of some top of the line LCD TVs but 800 nits are enough to display very bright HDR with spectacular and vivid highlights.
The E8 is struggling a little when it has to display images which are overall bright. In this case brightness takes a dive to around 150 nits making the image look darker overall. For this reason LG has developed a system called Dynamic Tone Mapping that analyses the brightness of each frame and adjusts it accordingly. This results in brighter images without loosing any detail and for 2018 LG has given this a dedicated menu to control.
Black levels is the most strong point of OLED TVs and as such the E8 offers this in ample quantity. In the early years of OLED there were a few problems with poor screen uniformity and crushed blacks but it seems these are problems of the past as LG has managed to improve greatly this problems to the point of being almost non existent. The E8 offer deep blacks that create an image of pure quality, free of any of the above mentioned issues.
The E8 supports Wide Color Gamut (WCG) and measurements showed that it covers around 98% of the DCI-P3 color space and around 74% of the Rec.2020 color space bringing it in line with some of the top of the line models that other manufacturers are offering at the moment. As a result the E8 display colors that are very vivid and almost have a three dimensional feel to them.
The E8 may be a TV destined to play 4K with HDR content mostly but that doesn’t mean that it cannot play HD or SD material. On the contrary the E8 is a very capable upscaler and when we tried some good Full HD content the TV upscaled it retaining all the details of the original without any unwanted artifacts. The a9 processor seems to be making wonders at upscaling lower resolution content and this is very evident after a few tests.
As for motion performance this is an area that LG has struggled a bit with their OLED panels and here things are no different. Although there seems to be small improvements the overall result is a bit more juddery compared let’s say with Sony’s offerings. LG has two features that you can fiddle with to improve the motion performance with one being TrueMotion but turning this feature to high levels can result in the dreaded soap opera effect (SOE) to appear.
The other feature that is new for 2018 is called Motion Pro and in reality is a black frame insertion feature where a black frame is inserted between two individual frames. This improves the overall motion but has two side effects. The first is that this feature can turn the image look more dark than it should be and second there is a chance that you will pay attention to a minimal flickering because of this rapid black frame insertion.
The E8 also has a very low input lag that will please even the most demanding gamers. In order to get the best out of the TV you must have Game mode on and this will result in a very acceptable 21ms input lag. Gaming sessions and especially online gaming will be a real pleasure on this TV.
The LG E8 OLED supports a wide variety of HDR protocols and for 2018 the E8 includes support for HDR10 (the minimum requirement for UHD discs), the more advanced Dolby Vision with it’s dynamic metadata, HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) that is more for broadcasting content and Advanced HDR by Technicolor that is still in it’s early days and there is not much support yet.
The only omission we see here is HDR10+ which is an open source alternative for Dolby Vision that also uses dynamic metadata. Currently HDR10+ is supported by Amazon as well as Fox and Warner but it’s still in it’s early days so hopefully LG will add support for this later down the road but we are not holding our breath as LG seems to have decided to follow the Dolby Vision route for good.
As with all OLED equipped TVs the E8 has a small risk of image retention or even worst permanent burn-in. To combat this the E8 comes with a few features that help minimize this problem and we definitely recommend turning these on. One is called Pixel Refresh and the other Screen Shift. There is also a feature called Logo Luminance Adjustment that you should turn to low. But even with these settings there is some danger so it is always recommended if you game or watch TV broadcasting for long hours to take a few brakes in order to let the pixels of the panel to relax and return to their normal state.
One area that the E8 differentiate itself from the lower C8 model is the design with the E8 using the “picture on glass” feature. The other notable difference is in the sound department with the E8 using a 60W, 4.2 channels Dolby Atmos system. In theory this may sound pretty good but in reality sound reproduction is not much better that what we usually get in flat panel TVs with the E8 sound feel very one dimensional and without any real depth. Cranking up the volume didn’t distort the audio very much but the built-in system is not made to be abused so going for a dedicated audio system is a must.
Connections wise the LG E8 has a very similar setup we had seen before in the C8 with only minor differences. As such we get 2 groups of ports, with one of them looking sideways and the second group looking outwards.
In the sideways looking group we get three HDMI ports with HDMI 2 also supporting ARC. There is also a USB port that can be used to connect external storage devices. Sideways ports are definitely useful if you plan to wall mount the TV as the outward ones will become almost unusable in such a case.
The other ports in the second group include a fourth HDMI port, 2 additional USB ports, an optical digital out port, an RS232 port, an Ethernet port for wired connection to the internet as well as a composite input that can be used in conjunction with the included adapter. There is also an antenna/cable port for terrestrial broadcasting.
In most of the OLED sets the ports setup is very similar with small deviations. Compared to the C8 model here we find an additional USB port in the back with everything else exactly the same. All HDMI ports are HDCP 2.2 meaning they support 4K resolution, HDR and Wide Color Gamut. Sadly all USB ports are only 2.0 which is very puzzling as last year’s C7 had one USB 3.0 port. Also the outward ports can pose some problems in case you want to wall mount the set thus making Samsung’s One Connect Box a long distant dream that hopefully one day LG will also decide to use.
OS, Apps and Features
As with most LG TVs in 2018 the E8 is using the company’s proprietary smart TV platform called WebOS which after many yearly updates has come to be one of the best smart TV platforms and only Samsung’s Tizen platform can challenge it in real terms. Since we had recently reviewed the C8 OLED the WebOS is exactly the same version so we were already pretty familiar with the ins and outs of the platform. But even for someone that experience it for the first time it will not be too hard to get accustomed to it although it will need a little time to get used to how everything works.
The WebOS is very visually pleasing providing a nice and rich graphically interface with all applications and menus being positioned in a row for easy access. Of course with so may features available it can become a bit overwhelming to find what you need each time so webOS offers enough customization in order to position the apps the way you want and keep only those that interest you. Navigating the menus is very smooth with no lag at all adding to the overall great experience.
4K streaming with HDR is the new best thing and webOS makes sure to support that. With Amazon, Netflix and Youtube supporting them while Netflix also goes the extra mile to support Dolby Vision that is an advanced HDR protocol with dynamic metadata as well as Dolby Atmos for a more immersive experience if you have a Dolby Atmos enabled audio system. If these three apps are not enough you can download even more from LG’s content store that includes hundreds of streaming services and apps and there is definitely something for everyone.
WebOS is an amazing smart TV platform but when it is combined with the included Magic Remote it becomes even better. The Magic Remote may take some time to get the hang of it and understand it’s unique features but once you do it becomes a powerful tool in your hands for easy and fast navigation.
Other than the normal use the Magic Remote gives you the ability to navigate through the menus with the built-in pointer system. This can be particularly handy in case you want to input a username and a password for example. Before you had to scroll to each separate key with the arrow buttons while now you just point the desired letter and click on it. Efficient, precise and fast. The remote also has buttons that you can designate specific functions that you frequently use in order to save time. There are already two of them for Netflix and Amazon but it’s good that more are provided in order to choose whatever you want.
Last but not least is the inclusion of a microphone that is part of the voice control navigation system. WebOS is using LG’s ThinQ AI voice control system in order to control the TV through voice commands but also other devices that support the ThinQ protocol. 2018’s WebOS includes support for both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant in order to choose the one that suits you best.
WebOS is an amazing smart TV platform and in combination with the Magic Remote it can become the central hub of your smart home functionality. It is relatively easy to use, smooth, fast and functionality extends beyond simply controlling your TV. LG has done an excellent job and we are curious to see what other improvements they will manage to make in the coming years.
The LG E8 finds itself in a tough position not only because it has to battle rival models but also faces competition from the inside. The most direct competitor here would have to be the Samsung Q9FN which also offers amazing picture quality with more brightness but not so good black levels and viewing angles. The other competitor is LG’s own C8 model which basically is the same TV in a different design package and with lower sound specifications.
The E8 OLED is a TV with amazing features. OLED technology remains the top technology as far as image quality is concerned and no matter how many improvements Samsung has made on their QLED series, LCD will always fall behind OLED. As such the E8 image quality is second to none, it’s HDR in combination with the deep blacks create a result that has to be seen in order to believe. The a9 processor is making wonders and we can see why LG has advertised it so much in 2018. The E8 also comes with LG’s own webOS smart TV platform and in combination with their magic remote you get amazing control over all your smart home devices. If you add the huge number of features, online services and apps on offer it’s clear why this TV is considered one of the best for this year.
On the other hand the glass design we personally found unnecessary and only adds to the cost rather than providing anything essential. Also LG continue to put all ports at the back making cable management a pain. At some point they should learn from Samsung’s One Connect Box as having so nice designs but so bad cable management is a pity. Also sound performance is so and so, something natural for any flat panel TV. But if you can afford to have such a TV set then you will also probably have a dedicated audio system thus making this problem non essential. Lastly price is on the high side even for such a TV and it can definitely make a lot of people stay away from it.
Closing we would say that if budget is of no concern then the E8 OLED is a magnificent TV that offers almost everything you would expect from one of the best TVs ever made. On the other hand if you want the same performance with less money you better choose the C8 that has the same image performance with different design and a lower cost. Does the more luxurious design justify the extra cost? It depends on how much you value the design. But if you do then you don’t have to worry as the LG E8 OLED offers the complete package for this year and for many years to follow.
- Screen sizes (US) : 55″ E8 (OLED55E8PUA), 65″ E8 (OLED65E8PUA)
- Screen sizes (Europe) : 55″ E8 (OLED55E8PLA), 65″ E8 (OLED65E8PLA)
- Resolution : 3840 x 2160
- Processor : α9 Intelligent Processor
- HDR supported : Dolby Vision®, Advanced HDR by Technicolor®, HDR10, HLG
- Video : 4K Cinema HDR, Infinite Contrast, Pixel Level Dimming, Ultra Luminance Pro, Intense Color, Billion Rich Colors 10-bit, True Color Accuracy Pro, 4K Upscaler, Wide Viewing Angle
- Audio : 60W 4.2Ch Dolby Atmos, DTS-HD, Bluetooth Audio Playback, LG Sound Sync
- AI TV : LG AI ThinQ®, Google Assistant, Google Home Compatible (Google Home device sold separately), Amazon Alexa Compatible (Amazon Alexa device sold separately), Intelligent Voice Recognition
- Smart TV : webOS Operating System, Magic Remote Control, Universal Control Capability, Gallery Mode, LG Content Store (App Store), Full Web Browser, Channel Plus
- Inputs / Outputs : 4 HDMI ports, 3 USB ports, 1 Ethernet port, 1 Optical Digital Audio out, 1 Composite input, 1 RS232 mini jack, 1 RF In port
- Connectivity : Wireless IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac support, Wired through RJ-45 port, Bluetooth 4.2
- Dimensions (65″ model) : 57.0″ x 36.0″ x 8.7″ / 1600 x 1015 x 175 (with stand) – 57.0″ x 35.6″ x 2.0″ / 1449 x 903 x 52 (without stand)
- Weight (65″ model) : 65.9 lbs / 29.9 Kg (with stand) – 58.6 lbs / 26.6 Kg (without stand)